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Federal Government

Canada’s federal government is responsible for many policies that matter for BC’s business community, including taxation, immigration, innovation programs and employment insurance. The Council provides regular recommendations to the federal government to ensure that the nation’s top decision makers consider BC’s unique economic priorities.

Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Income tax rates: Canada’s growing competitive disadvantage (Business in Vancouver)

Among all advanced economies, Canada imposes one of the heaviest income tax burdens on highly skilled people

The federal budget presented last month offered a timely reminder of something that many Canadians might not realize: a huge slice of Ottawa’s revenue comes from a single source, the personal income tax (PIT). Federal PIT revenue is projected to reach $152 billion in 2017-18, which is half of all of the money hoovered up by the national government. PIT is also the No. 1 revenue source for the provinces, although it makes up a significantly smaller portion of their tax base than of Ottawa’s.

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Finlayson Op-Ed: Canada's over-hyped clean-tech revolution (Troy Media)

Across Canada, politicians have become bedazzled by the potential of the “clean tech” sector to drive economic growth.  The 2017 federal budget earmarks more than $2.2 billion in new spending to boost the industry, with a particular focus on accelerating the commercialization of products and technologies that promise to lessen the environmental impact of energy and water use, transportation, and other industrial activities. 

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: B.C. needs to do a better job of attracting high-skill immigrants (Business in Vancouver)

Immigration continues to reshape the demographic landscape in British Columbia.

Every year, between 35,000 and 40,000 new immigrants arrive in the province. Currently, more than one-quarter of the province’s population is foreign-born. Most immigrants settle in urban centres, so 41% of Metro Vancouver’s residents were born in another country. Given relatively low birth rates and the aging of the population, these proportions are expected to rise over the coming decades.

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2017 Federal Budget: Lots of Words, Few New Measures

A principal theme of this Budget is the need to improve Canada’s lagging performance on private sector innovation, with the federal government directing funds to stimulate growth in six key innovation-based industry sectors and pledging to develop a handful of “super clusters” across Canada.

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RELEASE: Budget 2017 Offers Opportunities for Innovation, But BCBC Cautious on Canada's Overall Competitiveness

Today's federal budget, delivered at a time of significant global uncertainty, abrupt shifts in markets, and accelerating technological change, offers new opportunities for innovation and emerging sectors. However, the Business Council of British Columbia remains cautious on the implications of the continued federal deficit and questions whether enough is being done to strengthen Canada's competitiveness.

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BC2035

BC2035 is about creating a shared vision of BC’s future and laying down a pathway to realize that vision. It is about initiating conversations, fostering greater collaboration and getting politicians, policy makers, First Nations leaders, and business leaders to think about, prepare for and act on the future.

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RELEASE: Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and Enbridge Line 3 replacement approval

The Business Council of British Columbia supports the federal government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project as announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this afternoon.

“This decision recognizes that the Trans Mountain project and Enbridge Line 3 replacement are in the national interest and that there is a place for Canadian oil in global markets, even as the world shifts toward renewable and lower carbon energy forms and cleaner technology,” said Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO, Business Council of British Columbia.  “Global demand for energy continues to grow and fossil fuels will be a major source of energy for decades to come. Canada’s responsibly sourced and well-regulated energy resources can play an important role in fulfilling this global demand.”

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Letter to the Honourable Catherine McKenna re Pacific Northwest LNG

On September 22, 2016, Greg D'Avignon, President and CEO of the Business Council wrote to the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, regarding the Pacific Northwest LNG project.

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New Regional Effort Aims to Establish Cascadia Innovation Corridor

British Columbia and Washington leaders come together to strengthen collaboration, create cross-border opportunity

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Innovation for Jobs and Productivity:
Fostering High-Growth BC Businesses, Creating More High-Paying Jobs

How can British Columbia draw on its strengths to build a vibrant, diverse economy, one that produces rewarding employment opportunities and rising incomes for the people who work and do business here? Scholars and leading international organizations agree that the best route to sustained prosperity is by developing a highly productive economy.

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Finlayson Op-Ed: How Canada can put its economy back in gear (Troy Media & The Province Newspaper)

“Building an economy that works for the middle class” is the preferred mantra of the Trudeau government now ensconced in Ottawa.  Rarely these days does one encounter a federal government news release that fails to tout the benefits of a thriving middle class.  The term “middle class” itself, however, is never defined, making it difficult to know if progress is being made in delivering on what the government describes as its most important objective. 

On at least some measures, the middle class in Canada actually looks to be doing reasonably well.  Take incomes, for example.  From 2010 to 2014, the total pre-tax income of the typical family – defined, statistically, as the “median” family consisting of two or more related persons – rose from $80,900 to $87,000, in constant 2014 dollars.  This amounts to an increase (after inflation) of 7.5 per cent over four years – a decent gain. 

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SUBMISSON: BCBC Input to the Federal Government's 2016 Immigration Consultation Process

The Business Council's input to the Federal Government's 2016 Immigration Consultation Process made via the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Business input vital to immigration system’s economic success (Business in Vancouver)

There are currently 4.7 million people living in B.C. Over the past 20 years, our population has risen by 908,000. Back in 1995, the population was growing at an annual rate of 2.8%, based on strong net interprovincial migration, international migration, and a relatively high rate of natural increase (births minus deaths). Now, the population is increasing by 1% annually, which is higher than the Canadian average but slower than in decades past.

In the next 20 years, our population is projected to expand by 1.14 million. Natural population growth dwindles after 2015 and approaches zero by 2030. At that point, B.C.’s population will be rising solely due to net in-migration from other provinces and countries. Of the two sources of in-migrants, international immigration will have a bigger role in determining B.C.’s demographic and economic future. Thus, it is more important than ever that immigration policy is aligned with our economic needs. Unfortunately, based on some initial actions by the Justin Trudeau government, it appears that economic considerations will carry less weight in immigration decisions.

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D'Avignon Op-Ed: Trade deals, infrastructure, national climate framework key for B.C. business (The Hill Times)

Today, some 40 business, First Nations, and community leaders from British Columbia are in Ottawa. Here’s how we can work together with the federal government.

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Peacock Op Ed: Consideration for Transit: More People are Settling in Surrey than any other B.C. City (Surrey Business News)

Which B.C. city has experienced the largest population increase since 2011? Most readers will not be surprised at the answer: Surrey. Between 2011 and 2015, more than 43,000 additional people became residents of Surrey, which translates into an average of 900 more people per month over the past four years. During the same period, the City of Vancouver recorded the second biggest absolute population gain of just over 29,000, followed by Coquitlam (+14,000), Richmond (+11,700) and Langley District (+10,600).

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Finlayson Op-Ed: Liberals step up state involvement, downplay role of enterprise in economy (Business in Vancouver)

Bill Morneau’s spending-heavy budget underscores two important shifts in the country’s economic and political landscape.

The first is Canada’s diminished economic prospects in an era of weak global growth and sluggish commodity markets. In the past two years, Canada has been buffeted by a substantial “terms of trade” shock, as the prices of our exports have fallen relative to what we pay for imports. Commodity prices, in particular, have plunged, a real blow for an economy that relies on natural resource industries for half of its exports and two-fifths of business investment.

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Federal Budget Delivers on Liberal Campaign Commitments...But Little New for Business

In his inaugural budget, Finance Minister Bill Morneau ushered in a new era of higher federal spending and sizable deficits. It is important to take note of the current context: a Canadian economy that’s still struggling to adjust to dramatically lower oil prices and a generalized downturn in global commodity markets. We should also take account of the federal government’s solid baseline financial position. Even with a string of deficits, the federal debt/GDP ratio is projected to remain essentially flat over the next half decade.

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BCBC Column: Budget 2016: What's in it for British Columbia? (Vancity Buzz)

Tuesday’s budget dips the country deeper into deficit to bring long promised support to lift up the middle class, First Nations, veterans and students. Although short on a clear path towards economic growth, the budget does offer some goodies that will compliment other efforts by the Liberal Government to advance innovation, infrastructure development and investment.

So – what’s in it for BC?  Here’s a closer look at what yesterday’s budget means for you and the BC economy.

How far into the red are we going?

While no one likes to accumulate debt, with today’s record-low interest rates and when spent strategically to support economic growth, deficit spending can help boost an otherwise lagging national economy. It is also important to keep some perspective.  The $30 billion in red ink that the Finance Minister is planning for each of the next two years should be seen against the backdrop of Canada’s $2 trillion economy.    The federal government’s  debt-to-GDP ratio is the lowest of the G7 countries. With that being said, the Business Council would like to see a strong focus over the medium term to bring the budget back into balance.   

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Post-Budget Economic Overview

Jock Finlayson presents a look at the global, national and BC economies in the context of the March 22nd federal budget.

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RELEASE:
Modest plans for economic growth supported by significant increases in spending
Council urges government to keep an eye towards Canada’s long term fiscal health

Vancouver, BC – March 22, 2016 – The Business Council of British Columbia welcomes today’s federal budget, which provides a modest boost to a sluggish Canadian economy and signals a renewed focus on stimulating innovation and infrastructure investments. 

With the government’s decision to run deficits over the foreseeable future leading to a significant increase in debt, fostering an environment for sustained economic growth is essential to ensure the debt is kept manageable relative to the size of the economy.  The Business Council believes the government should aim to keep the debt/GDP ratio on a downward track over the course of the updated fiscal plan outlined in Budget 2016.

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